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2004-01-04 @ 17:32:06 Permalink The $10,500 iPod
I was at Best Buy the other day and I walked by an iPod display. It seems that Apple boasts that their 40GB mp3 player can hold 10,000 songs. Their website goes on to claim that "that's four weeks of music — played continuously, 24/7 — or one new song a day for the next 27 years." Pretty cool.

Well, sort of. Assuming that the only legal way to acquire mp3s is either to purchase them online or to rip your CDs, that leaves you with $1 a song (99 cents at iTunes or roughly $15 for the average 15 track CD). Now when you add the 40GB iPod's $500 cost, that leaves you with a $10,500 iPod! 10,000 songs, sure, whatever.
2003-12-31 @ 21:10:30 Permalink 'Tis the Season
A glass and bottle of champagne in front of Christmas flowersWell Montréal and Sutton were a blast. With waist deep snow, snow fights, Taboo under the influence, Risk till dawn, and even some cross-country skiing, could it get any better?

Christmas was great too. The green NC climat gives new meaning to the "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas" song. Nonetheless it was nice.

It's New Year's Eve, tomorrow is the start of a new year and the Vienna Philharmonic's annual New Year's Day concert is on PBS tomorrow night, excellent!

Ah, it's a beautiful time of the year!
2003-12-15 @ 09:56:24 Permalink Only Two Days Left!
Sutton 2k3!There are only 2 days and 38 minutes left till takeoff at RDU (coincidentally exactly 100 years after the Wright Brothers first flight in NC)! And best of all the Montréal area got a nice dumping of snow yesterday. This webcam picture shows the corner of Ste. Catherine and Peel this morning.

Snow! Snow! Snow!

If the snow stays I may even be able to do some x-country skiing this time. Sweet!
2003-12-10 @ 23:17:22 Permalink Themis Lives On!
FileLine My senior design project (a CAD document digital rights management system devised last spring) has matured into a product. Our sponsor, Integrated Industrial Information (aka I-Cubed), has taken our design and expanded it to create FileLine, previously codenamed Themis.

I think it's cool that our project is being used (the project itself, not just the ideas). In fact one of the employees working on FileLine mentionned on the WolfWeb:

"We are using the same architecture and probably a good deal of the code base. If you were able to log into the Rights Manager, you would see basically the same set up as was there last spring."
2003-12-06 @ 22:22:33 Permalink Franglish
From a article:

Still, Chrétien is proud of how far he's come with his English.

A unilingual Chrétien told his Shawinigan riding association in his first campaign 40 years ago that he would become bilingual within four years. He recalled years later of telling Pierre Trudeau of the promise.

Trudeau said to me, 'You never kept your promise.'
Hahahaha, that's great!
2003-11-27 @ 12:59:00 Permalink Techno-disconnect
Two articles caught my attention in yesterday's Connect section of the N&O. Neither addresses anything new or surprising, but they both discuss interesting inter-personal communication quirks that have arisen out of the constant access to computers and information. The first talks about how Wi-Fi is changing corporate presentations, pointing out that the attendees can easily double check everything the presenter says with Google searches and IMs to co-workers. The columnist goes on to say how people can have entire IM conversations about the presentation unbeknownst to the presenter. More importantly, he shows how easy it is to ignore the presenter, which is why I love part of his conclusion so much:

What a dilemma. It's easy to communicate with people around the planet, but even easier to avoid the person in front of the room.

- Paul Gilster, The News & Observer
It's one of those comments you know are great because you've done it to others, and likely others have done it to you!

The other article I find more amusing than anything else because a friend accused me of it several times already:

A new plague of inattention is spreading. It's called "surfer's voice" - a habit of half-heartedly talking to someone on the telephone while simultaneously surfing the Web, reading e-mail, or trading instant messages.

- Dennis K. Berman, The Wall Street Journal
Oh, and Happy American Thanksgiving!
2003-11-25 @ 19:29:09 Permalink 2 Years of Donated CPU Time!
I reached the two year mark on my United Devices Cancer Research Project distributed computing agents. Since March 1st, 2002, I have donated just about 2 years and 2 days of total CPU time on my main home computer and work desktop (the work computer accounts for about 2/3 of the returned results as it's on 24/7). SETI@home is cool and all, but it feels good to put the computer to work for a good cause.
2003-11-23 @ 18:52:08 Permalink Road Runner and Terrapins Suck!
1) Road Runner was out for most of yesterday and again for most of today, POS! It's been acting real bad the last couple of weeks, which I find highly unacceptable. This is the third time it's down, and on a few occasions it has been so slow that it might as well have been down. And what's dummer is their network status website always has the same meaningless message:

Road Runner is currently experiencing issues with the cable network. Subscribers in the affected area(s) may experience a loss of connectivity, usually indicated by flashing modem lights and/or a loss of video service. Our engineers are working quickly to resolve this issue. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
I like the "Our engineers are working quickly to resolve this issue." Sheesh they're slow!

2) Terps suck, 'nuff said. I put up a sampling of the pics I took at yesterday's game.
2003-11-22 @ 10:58:30 Permalink Sutton is Back!
Mark your calendars, Sutton is back from December 18 to the 21st! The countdown is on!

Sutton 2k3!United, the airline that showed the least promise (especially since half the links on its site are dead!), ended up having the most. AirCanada never had anything and I waited too long for Delta. However I get to fly to Chicago on my way back, that's kind of cool. And the Raleigh/Dulles-Chicago/Raleigh flights are in a British Aerospace 146, I've never flown on one of those; for that matter, I've never flown on a plane whose wings were above the fuselage (well, maybe with US Airways once, I don't recall).

I'll be leaving on the 17th and returning on the 23rd, so this will give me more time in Montréal to do stuff besides Sutton. I haven't made any plans yet though; must deal with loads of school work first (oh, and a football game versus Maryland today as well ;) ).
2003-11-08 @ 21:30:15 Permalink Campus Pics
NC State Block S Logo I took a bunch of pics of campus this week in case I may want to look back in a few years. I may end up taking some more on a sunnier day, if I get around to it; maybe in the spring. I also want to map the pictures to put them in context.

And it's a lunar eclipse tonight.
2003-11-04 @ 08:33:04 Permalink User Error
A man standing at the service dept. deskHaha, someone finally drew up a comic of this classic joke.

I still remember when I first heard it, I didn't even get it. "The error lies between the keyboard and the chair." What??? Oh... Hehehehehehe.

2003-10-18 @ 18:49:20 Permalink Vector graph-an-puters
Computer with two monitorsI started drawing these images because I wanted to play around with vector graphics and gradients in Paint Shop Pro 7. The last time I had worked with such imaging techniques was back in the late '90s with Corel Draw 12 (with a brief Flash 4 stint in 2001).

I was somewhat disappointed thought. Gradient handling is sufficient, but the vector handling could have been done better. It's nowhere near the power and ease that Corel Draw had, but then again PSP is not really a vector graphics suit. Maybe I should try out PSP8.

Anyway, after I made all these drawings I felt compelled to put them to use so I made a new page describing my home network layout and details of the key computers I use. There's probably a lot I left out but oh well.
2003-10-16 @ 20:03:25 Permalink ID Theft Sucks
Read this story a few days ago (sorry, I couldn't get a legible PDF to have a reasonable file size). Good story; ID theft sucks.
2003-10-06 @ 16:41:16 Permalink RSS and other stuff
I haven't had much time to work on the site lately and likely won't for quite some time. Nonetheless over the past few weeks I did manage to "XML-ize" these comments by creating an RSS feed. Cool stuff, just click on the XML icon: RSS Feed. Figuring out what RSS stands for was harder than actually implementing it. It would seem that people can't agree whether it's Real Simple Syndication or RDF Site Summary (which in turn is Resource Description Framework Site Summary). Oh well, it works, that's all that matters (oh, and it's valid too 1 2 3).

I also created a NotesBuddy skin, for all of the four people on the planet that actually use NotesBuddy. And of course you can now contact me if you wish (sorry, you'll have to use the form because spammers reek).
2003-09-18 @ 21:21:12 Permalink Hurricane Isabel
My first hurricane! Apart from the excitement of experiencing a hurricane first hand, I must say Isabel was a dud in the Triangle. Stronger than usual winds is about all it had, it didn't even have strong downpours, just your average rain. All in all it was just stuff I had already seen on plenty of 'non-hurricane' days. Even the birds didn't think it was a big deal; they just kept eating as if nothing was up. Admittedly it was still fun to watch. I did keep track of it online and even made some short movies of the wind.

To its credit Isabel did manage to kill the power, but that seems to be pretty easy to do down here. I don't know, maybe I was just expecting too much from a hurricane this far inland; it would have been nice to see torrential rains and whatnot (so long as my trees don't fall on my house, of course).

Okay, so Isabel wasn't as tame as I make it sound, the windows constantly rattled and it messed up one of my trees, tehsuck!

On the up side this was the first time my APC battery backup was put to work. I love this thing now even more than when I bought it. First it help strong when the power cut off for a second ten times in two hours, and then when the power finally went it held up for just over 60 minutes, an entire hour! That was way more than the 15-20 minutes that I was realistically expecting. It kept the server and the Internet running till the very end. Too bad my laptop battery died last Thursday and now only holds 10 minutes of power. I had to put it in standby to have enough power to dial out for updates should the power stay out for long (which it no doubt did).

So what did I do? Well... School's out. Work's out. Power's out. Reading textbooks is so boring...

Oh, and I had diner at Hooters. Because it's Hooters you ask? No, because your friendly neighborhood restaurant was the only one open! The weatherperson yells "hurricane on the coast" and everyone in the state decides to give themselves a free holiday. :-/

Hurricane, uhmm, tropical storm Isabel, give Virginia a good time.
2003-09-17 @ 09:16:37 Permalink Email Forwards
I got these two in the mail today. The first is interesting, the second is just so silly I can't help but laugh.

"Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe.

Ah, the beauty of silly humor: even penguins can't stand each other.
2003-09-09 @ 13:17:50 Permalink Moved
Alright, I've finally finished moving everything that I wanted and added the bulk of the new features that I felt were most pressing. Some things are still missing, but they can wait.

A red circle and diagonal line over a picnic tableWhile I moved the site I also decided to give it a new facelift and figured why not make it valid table-free XHTML. That's right, everything you see if CSS driven! There are no tables except for the picKLE photo gallery which I only customized the looks and not the structure. If I'm bored someday I might XHTML it too. Most pages are valid, with the exception of a few where I felt the hassle wasn't worth it. The code was designed for IE and the site looks fairly similar in Netscape7/Mozilla, but I won't even try to get it to look good for Nutscrap4 (despite the fact that it's surprisingly still readable, do yourself a favor and upgrade!).

Death to tables [even if CSS is so much more complicated]!

At the same time I also signed up with for free to get so now you don't need my IP to view this site anymore. I might get a domain later on, but this'll do for now.
2003-08-18 @ 16:53:57 Permalink Lightning
I finally decided to go out and buy a battery backup for my computers on Saturday after the power choked for a split second during a thunderstorm and all the computers reset. By total coincidence the APC model that I wanted turned out to be $40 off that day. I tested it out on Sunday and it worked. Pretty cool. With all my core equipment on the battery it has about 20-27 minutes of power, not bad, especially since I want it mainly for the split second power outages. I also hooked it up to my main desktop to have it shutdown once the battery reaches a low power level. I haven't tested the shutdown procedure, but the software seems to be connecting with the battery correctly in it's status window.

Also on Sunday, a house in my neighbourhood was struck by lightning and the attic (and probably the second floor too) caught on fire. I always thought those were just freak accidents.
2003-08-11 @ 12:12:57 Permalink Atomic Clock
So I've been staring at these clocks since last Christmas' shopping season and finally bought one from Sam's Club yesterday. The clock adjusts itself; it just doesn't get any better than that. It has now joined the all time cool ranks with my VCR. With so many clocks and watches in my house it's nice to know that at least two of them will set themselves, and accurately too.

It even has indoor and outdoor temperature indicators, with a remote thermometer for outside (with vital Centigrade support of course). It actually works too. The outdoor temperature reading came on within a few seconds, but the time only started working sometime at night (I was pleasantly surprised when the time was set this morning). I guess that was to be expected since they claim the radio waves from Colorado travel better at night (something to do with the ionosphere, I vaguely recall that from high school physics). Anyway it works!

Another gadget... :)
2003-08-03 @ 11:57:00 Permalink Moving
I'm in the process of moving the site to this blazing fast Pentium 166 MHz. Actually, I'm quite surprised that the pages don't load slower than they do. We'll see how it is once everything is up. This main page is up (with a new look), but not much else is up yet. However I have added some photos from my summer road trip to the image gallery.

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